SAFEWAY INC. Settles Environmental Protection Lawsuit for Retail Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations in the State of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2015
Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

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SAFEWAY INC. Settles Environmental Protection Lawsuit for Retail Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations in the State of California

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, together with 41 other California District Attorneys and 2 City Attorneys announced today that Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wynne S. Carvill has approved a Stipulated Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that more than 500 Safeway stores and distribution centers, including its other brands, Vons, Pavilions and Pak ‘n Save, violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste generated from spills and customer returns of hazardous products.

“If you take shortcuts that pollute our environment there will be consequences,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “Judgments like these are a reminder to companies everywhere that we will vigorously pursue violations that threaten the environment.”

The investigation into Safeway’s practices began after discovery of improper shipments of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste to Safeway’s distribution centers through its reverse logistics program. The investigation revealed that Safeway was also routinely and systematically sending hazardous and pharmaceutical wastes to local area landfills not equipped to receive such waste. Upon being notified by prosecutors of the widespread issues, Safeway worked cooperatively to remedy the issue, enhance its environmental compliance program and train its employees to properly handle such waste.

Pursuant to the terms of the Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction, California Safeway stores have adopted new policies and procedures designed to eliminate the improper disposal of retail hazardous waste products and pharmaceutical waste into store trash bins for eventual disposal into local landfills. In addition, the corporation must pay $9.87 million in civil penalties, costs and supplemental environmental projects. Under the terms of the settlement, Safeway must also continue its First Assistant Store Manager Program designed to address environmental compliance at the store level and conduct annual store audits.

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